“What Government Does” by David Brooks (TIMES, 4/29/11)

David Brooks “spent some time this week” observing “what government is and ins’t good at.” He did that at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) “headquartered in a dispiriting 1960’s building that is brutalist on the outside and dreary within.” 

It sounds like Brooks engaged in some media slumming in order to say something nice (objective?) about government workers. Claiming to be a “moderate conservative,” it is necessary that he acts like a nice guy sometimes.

What struck me was his description of HUD as “10 stories of basement.” Was it an accident that government buildings were constructed to be brutalists and dreary or was that the results of conservative budget cutting?

Couldn’t Brooks have written this column without presenting the physical environment in which HUD employee


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